Verdict: A slow-building drama with amazing performances.
For lovers of classic masala comedies, 45 Years is not the ideal movie. The film lacks humor, intense drama, even pace. But it more than makes up for a worthy watch with its subtle romance and amazing performances. Set across six days, the story plays up to the tension building between a married couple just before their 45th wedding anniversary. The secrets that unfold are emotionally ensnaring, which will compel you to explore your own relationships. Based on a short story ‘In Another Country‘ by David Constantine, 45 years pays testament to the fact that patience is the key to a lasting marriage.
The movie starts with a look into the happy peaceful life of the Mercers, only to be shaken up when Geoff Mercer (Tom Courtenay) receives a letter stating that the body of his former lover had been found. Geoff courted Katya long before he had met his wife Kate (Charlotte Rampling). On their hike to a mountain in Germany many years ago, Katya had fallen to her death in a deep fissure. Her body was never found at the time. However, it was recently recovered in a melting glacier. The news deeply affects Geoff, as memories of Katya return. Kate is also disconcerted by the news, as her concerns for Geoff grow. In the midst of planning a party for their 45th anniversary, she finds herself increasingly drawn to her husband’s past.
The story progresses to show Geoff’s obsession with Katya over the years and Kate’s growing insecurities. As Geoff begins to smoke again after quitting for many years, the audience is given a glimpse of his inability to deal with his emotions. Sympathetic to Geoff at first, Kate slowly begins to distance herself as she finds out a devastating truth she cannot come to terms with. Helpless and confused, she too takes to smoking.
Even though the premise of the story is based on Geoff’s past, it is Kate who is the star of the movie. Viewers are sympathetic to her as she struggles to deal with her husband’s dead former lover. Charlotte Rampling‘s performance is especially captivating, resulting in her nomination for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. Additionally, the movie was also nominated for the BAFTAs and British Independent Film Awards.
45 Years raised an important question: why was the former lover found after so many decades? It was mentioned that the body was recovered in a melting glacier, throwing light at the climatic change of present times. A scene from a movie also shows Geoff reading to Kate from a book about how global warming is posing a deep threat to mankind. Climate change is an important issue that even Leo DiCaprio brought to light in his Oscar-winning speech, "Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating."
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
A beautifully portrayed romantic drama, the movie broods on the insecurity struggles of a couple, 45 years into their marriage. The brilliant performances by the lead actors and the emotional baggage of the story make it worth a watch, especially for romance lovers.
– By Delnaz Divecha